As a US student studying abroad, will colleges, when looking at admissions, place me against every US student studying abroad or just US abroad students in my country/continent.
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I am in a similar situation and coincidentally I had a chat with a former admissions officer in an ivy university. The previous answer is correct that you will be compared with other US applications. However, in practice you have a number of advantages, which you should bring forward in your application, and which normally result in higher acceptance rates:
a) languages. Normally, you should speak by now more than English and you might speak 3 or 4 languages overall. Get some SAT2 language tests and you can to reach easily a high score and prove your fluency.
b) work experience. You might had some volunteering/work experience/summer program in more than one countries and in more than one languages. If the case, do highlight this
c) SAT/ACT - they tend to be less demanding from those student abroad, because they are not used in the US testing culture / standardized tests. Having said that, US students abroad tend to score higher particularly in the math section. Bottom line, prepare a bit and take one of the tests.
d) passports. They do compare you with the other US citizens indeed, but if you happen to be citizen of Tuvalu (for example) or have three other passports, ivys use those facts and introduce them in their diversity statistics.
e) life experience. He mentioned to me how one candidate wrote in his essay how he started a volunteering club in his school and the impact on his community. He used the opportunity to reflect that volunteering is much more prominent in the US where people do not rely so much on the government (and don’t like to pay taxes) in comparison to the country that he leaves. In other words, plenty of opportunity to demonstrate through your experience that you had been exposed to a different way of thinking in your campus.
Hope this helps! Good luck !
With your comment to Crsgo answer I answered another similiar question.
Your only boost is the expierences you went through becuase you are a domestic applicant . Even then it might be a minus depending on rigor (which is evaluated on your opportunities)
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